Charleszetta Waddles

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Charleszetta Waddles
Born Charleszetta Lena Campbell
(1912-10-07)October 7, 1912
St. Louis, Missouri, United States
Died July 12, 2001(2001-07-12) (aged 88)
Detroit, Michigan, United States
Occupation Minister
Employer Mother Waddles Perpetual Mission
Title Founder

Charleszetta Waddles (October 7, 1912 - July 12, 2001), also known as Mother Waddles, was an African-American activist, Pentecostal church minister, and founder of Mother Waddles Perpetual Mission, an independent church in Detroit that provides support, such as food, clothing and other basic services to Detroit's poor.[1][2][3][4] She is listed in the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame for her contributions to Social Work and Mission Work in the Detroit area.[5]

Early life and education[edit]

Charleszetta Lena Campbell was born on October 7, 1912 in St. Louis, Missouri to Henry Campbell and Ella Brown.[2][4] She was the eldest of seven children, only three of whom survived to adulthood.[4] Her father Henry was a successful St. Louis barber who became financially ruined after he unknowingly gave a haircut to a customer with impetigo, a contagious skin disease, which subsequently caused the infection to spread to other clients who were members of his church congregation.[1][3] Her father died when she was 12,[1] and, despite being a successful student, she left school in Eighth Grade to get work as a housemaid and provide for her family.[3]

The following year, Waddles found work as a sorter in a rag factory and later that year became pregnant by her 23-year-old boyfriend, who ended up leaving her.[3] In 1933, at age 21, she married LeRoy Wash, a 37-year-old truck driver, and the couple had six children together.[3] The family moved together to Detroit in 1936.[1] Waddles divorced Wash in 1945. She then lived in a common-law marriage with Roosevelt Sturkey and had three more children. In 1950 she married Payton Waddles, an employee of Ford Motor Company.

Ministry and help to poor[edit]

Waddles began helping the poor in 1948. In 1956 she became a minister of First Pentecostal Church. She later associated with the International Association of Universal Truth.


  1. ^ a b c d Woo, Elaine. "Charleszetta Waddles; Devoted to Needy". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 24, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Elmwood Historic Cemetery. "Mother Charleszetta Waddles". Elmwood Historic Cemetery. Retrieved June 24, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Wepman, Dennis (2000). "Waddles, Charleszetta "Mother"". American National Biography Online. New York, New York: American Council of Learned Societies, Oxford University Press. Retrieved June 24, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c Hine, Darlene Clark, ed. (1993). "Charleszetta Waddles". Black Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia. Brooklyn, New York: Carlson Publishing, Inc. Retrieved June 24, 2013. 
  5. ^ The Michigan Women's Hall of Fame. "Charleszetta Waddles (Mother Waddles)(1912 - 2001)". The Michigan Women's Historical Center. Retrieved June 24, 2013.